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Pharmaceuticals 2010, 3(3), 702-724; doi:10.3390/ph3030702

Oxytocin and Major Depressive Disorder: Experimental and Clinical Evidence for Links to Aetiology and Possible Treatment

Department of Behavioural and Molecular Neuroendocrinology, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstr 31, Regensburg D-93053, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 January 2010 / Revised: 24 February 2010 / Accepted: 5 March 2010 / Published: 16 March 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antidepressants)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [161 KB, uploaded 16 March 2010]


Affective disorders represent the most common psychiatric diseases, with substantial co-morbidity existing between major depressive disorders (MDD) and anxiety disorders. The lack of truly novel acting compounds has led to non-monoaminergic based research and hypotheses in recent years. The large number of brain neuropeptides, characterized by discrete synthesis sites and multiple receptors, represent likely research candidates for novel therapeutic targets. The present review summarises the available preclinical and human evidence regarding the neuropeptide, oxytocin, and its implications in the aetiology and treatment of MDD. While the evidence is not conclusive at present additional studies are warranted to determine whether OXT may be of therapeutic benefit in subsets of MDD patients such as those with comorbid anxiety symptoms and low levels of social attachment. View Full-Text
Keywords: neuropeptide; depression; oxytocin; social attachment; early-life neuropeptide; depression; oxytocin; social attachment; early-life
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Slattery, D.A.; Neumann, I.D. Oxytocin and Major Depressive Disorder: Experimental and Clinical Evidence for Links to Aetiology and Possible Treatment. Pharmaceuticals 2010, 3, 702-724.

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